Best e-Commerce platform for your business

 

How to choose the right e-commerce platform

It’s a big world out there in the e-commerce industry, and building an online shopfront that combines search engine efficiency, a user-friendly interface, mobile friendliness and the like can be tough to find. To help you figure out which e-commerce platform is right for you, we’ve put together a cheat sheet combining the pros and cons of the most popular options.

Shopify

Hands down one of the most powerful platforms in the market, Shopify has more plus points than downers. The major drawback for most is the running costs involved.

Pros:
• Easy set-up: choose from available templates, both free and paid
• Easily customisable shopfronts
• Safe payment gateways
• Responsive and helpful technical support via developers and Shopify team
• Ability to list unlimited products. Basic package starts with 1,500 products
• SEO efficient with custom title tags, meta descriptions, canonical tags, and the automatic generation of an XML sitemap
• Available apps (both free and paid), which integrate seamlessly with the backend, to enhance functionality and/or customization of the store
• No transaction fees

Cons:
• Limited ability to customize checkout page

Pricing: SGD 38-231/ month. Additional $54/month for a retail package, which provides a Shopify POS on iPad

Squarespace

Beautiful and intuitive, Squarespace is known for its functional design-driven templates that can be customised without the use of code.

Pros:
• Ability to list unlimited products
• Complete control of product variants, making it easy to offer variants of the same product
• Easily customisable shopfront that are fully integrated on the backend
• No Squarespace transaction fees
• High quality templates, though fewer to choose from as compared to Shopify
• Fairly robust SEO tools with editable page titles, meta descriptions, custom URLs, with the automatic inclusion of XML sitemaps and valid XHTML code

Cons:
• Does not currently accept Paypal. Only accepts payment through Stripe, which accepts VISA, Mastercard, and American Express
• Payment fee charged through stripe of 2.9% plus 30 cents for each transaction

Pricing: USD 26-40/ month billed annually, or USD 30-46/month billed month to month.

Magento

A favourite of the big boys, Magento is a self-hosted ecommerce platform that’s particularly scalable for small businesses with big plans. However, it does require a team of skilled web developers to unleash its full potential.

Pros:
• Can start from $0 for the Community Edition as it is open-source; however, upgrading to the Enterprise Edition can run costs up to USD250,000
• Robust search engine optimization tools which far outweighs other competent platforms such as Shopify
• Sophisticated backend (though hard to use at first) that includes customer sorting, personalized products, and analytics and reports
• Fully customizable frontend design
• Safe payment gateways
• Strong and secure data encryption (Enterprise Edition function)

Cons:
• Requires high-level programming, preferably by Magento-certified developers as the system is complex and constantly changing
• Long set-up time (estimated 2-3 months)
• Costly investment

Pricing: Starts from USD 0, although the Enterprise Edition can run up to USD 250,000

Big Cartel

Big Cartel is best suited for first-time shop owners testing the market. While significantly cheaper than other platforms, the functionality of Big Cartel is limited and unable to grow with your business.

Pros:
• Easy set-up
• Set-up is free for five products
• No listing or transaction fees

Cons:
• Little customization available
• Stores are limited to 300 products
• Ranks very low in terms of SEO functionality: does not offer tools to customize page titles, input meta descriptions, image tags, editable page URLs etc.

Pricing: USD 0-29.99/month

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